In 1986, the legendary “E-Myth” series by Michael E. Gerber introduced entrepreneurs to a new way of designing and growing a business. That is to say, he reminded us all that we must invest our energies in working ON the company and not just IN it.
This is not easy, especially for financial advisers, as the day-to-day responsibility of serving clients is usually the priority. And, quite frankly, it’s anathema to consider spending time on a task that doesn’t immediately generate income.
Yet we are seeing a growing trend which indicates that advisors, whether they practice as employees or independent business owners, view their businesses more as “businesses”. They look beyond the short term and take the time to assess what goes into growing a long-term sustainable business, such as scalability, succession planning, profitability, platform and technology, and whether their business can support whatever they want. reach and then some.
This is an important mindset to embrace as clients have become more demanding and the industry landscape has evolved to offer a wider range of options than ever before, allowing advisors to have more freedom, control and agency over their professional life.
Yet, whatever potential there is, growth and success are not given: they are reserved for those who can rise above the daily tasks of their “job” and invest time in strategy and management. thoughtful planning.
That is, take a step back to take a look at the âbig pictureâ of your business, and identify and resolve any gaps you may see.
It is a deliberate and strategic process that requires you to take the time to think of your business as a business.
And this is a critical process for advisors who work in large brokerage firms, because the reality is that it is very easy to just “go with the flow” that the company has prescribed. But is this the right direction for your customers, your business, and your future?
Adopt this “big picture” perspective
The thought process we share with advisors generally has two parts:
First, focus on the big picture of aligning your goals with your business’s ability to help you achieve them.
And second, identify gaps in planning and resources so that no matter where you choose to operate, your business will run as efficiently and productively as possible.
In this article, we focus on the first part, as determining whether you are in a good position to achieve your goals in your current business first is essential.
There is no doubt that the end of the year is the ideal time to take stock of your professional life; However, this exercise is something we encourage advisors to plan on more regularly. Think of it as a quarterly meeting that you do with yourself.
Take 30 minutes – fully focused, with email and phone notifications turned off – to ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I doing everything I want?
- Is my business a help or an obstacle in achieving my goals?
- If I had a magic wand, what changes would I make to my business?
- If I could press the “easy button” to go from “here to there”, where would “there” be?
- What additional support do I need?
- Do I have aspirations to start a business? In other words, do I want to be a business owner?
- What are the things that I don’t know that I wish I had done?
- How do I want to live my professional life?
It means being calm and comfortable and allowing the answers to come to you frankly and honestly. Then prepare to examine the gaps and assess how best to fill them. If there isn’t, so much the better! Keep moving forward with a plan to reassess over the next 3-6 months.
But if you feel a gap between where you are now and where you want to be, then consider this an opportunity to dig deeper. You can start off simply by educating yourself by reading articles like you currently do, listening to podcasts, or chatting with colleagues and peers. You might also want to kick the tires out and take meetings with other companies. Or consider connecting with a consultant or coach who can help you objectively explore your options.
One thing is certain: working ON the business is an invaluable investment of your time. As you step back and look at the big picture, ideas often emerge that can make or break what lies ahead, giving you the opportunity to think calmly and strategically.
Mindy Diamond is CEO of Diamond Consultants in Morristown, NJ, a nationally recognized boutique research and consulting firm in the financial services industry.